Tips for renting a luxury apartment sight-unseen

“We’re seeing a growing trend of people from out-of-town renting our apartments sight-unseen,” reports Cyndy Salgado, Director of Leasing at K2, a new 34-story, 496-unit luxury high-rise community in Chicago’s Fulton River District.

“The amount of information available on the Internet enables people to skip the time and expense of an apartment-hunting trip to Chicago and have confidence that they’re moving to a great home,” said Salgado.

Salgado has a number of suggestions for anyone who’s considering a sight-unseen rental in Chicago, and some insights on K2.

The neighborhood. Chicago’s known as “a city of neighborhoods.” To pick the one that’s the best fit for you, start with neighborhoods close to or with good public transit access to where you’ll be working, or with good expressway access if you commute by car. Minimizing your daily commute will make your life a lot more enjoyable, especially in Chicago’s winter weather.

K2 is close to the Kennedy Expressway in the Fulton River District, which is bordered by River North, the West Loop, River West and the Loop.

The community. Focus your search on new buildings. They’ll offer the greatest selection of available apartments, and the most up-to-date apartment finishes and common-area amenities.

The rental market in downtown Chicago has become very competitive and buildings that are only a few years old can’t match the features of the new communities. New buildings often offer lease-up incentives that make them highly cost-competitive with the older buildings.

A building’s website should make it easy for you see virtually all of the information you need and want about its apartments and amenities.

K2’s website, for example, has floor plans with room dimensions and an interactive furniture layout organizer. The site gives you near real-time, no-guesswork access to rent amounts and availability dates, nearly 100 photos of the apartments and amenities, and a link to the videos at K2’s YouTube channel. The site also has a Google Map with the location of nearby restaurants, bars, shopping options and more. Map icons locate the nearby CTA train and bus stops and Metra’s Ogilvie Transportation Center.

Online reviews and social media. Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media can give you an insider’s look at a community. You’ll be able to message those insiders with questions you might have.

Social media sites will also give you a look at past and future resident events, and introduce local businesses that participate in a building’s resident rewards discount program.

The developer. Look at the developer’s experience. K2’s developer, Fifield Companies, has a more than 30-year track record of completing successful projects, including high-rise residential communities from Waikiki to Chicago, and millions of square feet of office towers. Co-developer Wood Partners is one of the largest and most progressive multi-family investment firms in the nation.

Management. Having responsive on-site professional management is a key factor in how much you’ll enjoy living in your new home. K2 is managed by Riverstone Residential, one of the nation’s largest third-party management firms, overseeing more than 170,000 apartments in more than 800 residential communities. K2 has on-site management, leasing and maintenance staff and 24/7 door staff.

Leasing staff. New communities will have professional on-site leasing staff who can furnish accurate information more promptly and reliably than any apartment broker.

Contact the leasing staff by email or by phone with any questions or concerns you might have. The quality and promptness of their response will give you a good fix on the level of service you can expect after you move in.

The take-away. Follow these tips and you won’t be moving sight-unseen. You’ll have seen a lot more of your new community and its surroundings than you would on a hurry-up apartment tour.

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